Le Bon Ton6/24/2015 05:18:00 PM
|Le Bon Ton|
I've visited Le Bon Ton twice in the last two months - the first time was for my birthday drinks and dinner with some colleagues, and the second time was to celebrate the lovely Ashley's birthday with some blogger buddies. Clearly this is the venue of choice for fashionable ladies around town!
Le Bon Ton
51 Gipps Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
Ph: (03) 9416-4341
Le Bon Ton is located in the building that used to be the iconic Glasshouse pub. Now it's a popular saloon-style bar and restaurant, specialising in American barbecue and cocktails.
On our first visit, we got there pretty early on a Friday evening for drinks before our dinner booking. Wahey!
|Le Bon Ton|
Here are all the cocktails we had that evening. Disclaimer: I didn't drink all of these. Only most of them.
I loved the extensive cocktail list, which had a good selection of different types of cocktails - lighter/aperitif, tall/fizzy, fresh/zingy, stronger and boozey ("old man drinks", as I think of them). Between us, we managed to try a good cross-section of the menu. I was really impressed with the quality of the cocktails too - well balanced flavours, and an interesting selection, without being too adventurous or out there. I know that Le Bon Ton is known for its barbecue, but I think the cocktails were even better!
2 x Champagne Charlie - Plymouth sloe gin, apricot brandy, fresh grapefruit, plum bitters and Mumm Cordon Rouge Champagne - $19.50
|Front: Clubhouse Cocktail - Bulleit Rye Whiskey, smoked maple syrup and a dash of blackberry - $20|
Back: Mojo Hannah - Sailor Jerry spiced rum, fresh watermelon, Cartron white cacao and hints of citrus and absinthe - $18
|Stone's Throw - Calle 23 Blanco tequila, Aperol, fresh pineapple and agave nectar, topped with Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA - $18|
|Vieux Carré- Martel VS Cognac, Bulleit rye whiskey and Antica Formula vermouth with lashings of bitters & Dom Bénédictine liqueur - $18|
On this visit, we were a group of seven, and so ordered off the à la carte menu. (Groups of ten or more have to go from a set menu).
Three of us on the table ordered "Kitchen Sink" salads: huge salads with a mixture of vegetables, cheese, crisp tortilla strips, chipotle ranch dressing and a protein of choice.
|"Kitchen Sink" Salad with prawns - Mixed leaves & iceberg lettuce, red capsicum, cucumber, cherry tomato, cheddar, white onion with toasted pepitas & crispy corn tortilla strips, dressed with chipotle ranch - $22.50|
|"Kitchen Sink" Salad with Southern fried chicken - Mixed leaves & iceberg lettuce, red capsicum, cucumber, cherry tomato, cheddar, white onion with toasted pepitas & crispy corn tortilla strips, dressed with chipotle ranch - $21.50|
The salads looked a bit messy, but tasted great and were a very generous serving. I didn't get a picture of it, but my friend Alaina had her salad with blackened salmon, and said it was very good.
|Brisket Sandwich - Pit smoked chopped brisket with damn good BBQ sauce & slaw, on soft brioche, served with house made pickles - $16|
My friend Adam ordered the brisket sandwich. Adam's the kind of guy who's not into highfalutin fancy-pants food, but he enjoyed the sandwich. (Although just quietly, I think he enjoyed the beers more!)
The rest of us shared a few different dishes and sides...
|Fried Chicken - Southern style buttermilk soaked tenders with cracked pepper white gravy - $16.00|
The fried chicken was good, with a flavourful batter and tender meat, but we thought it was quite a small serving for sixteen dollars.
|Brisket (1/2 lb) Grain-fed Riverina Angus beef - $22|
The brisket was very impressive - I loved the smoky flavour, the falling-apart-tender meat, and the caramelised fat.
Our sides! I really liked the chilli cheese fries - a big delicious mess of chilli con carne, cheese, and chips, which became appealingly soggy underneath all that sauce. (I love soggy chips, by the way!) I also enjoyed the braised greens (I think these were chard or something similar, to emulate collard greens) with smoked maple bacon, but I think the flavours were a little too dark and challenging for some of my friends. The onion rings were fantastic - crispy and crunchy and well seasoned. Finally, I liked the mac and 3 cheese. It had good flavours and went well with our mains, but it didn't taste like anything I couldn't make at home.
The ultimate plate.
We were all quite full, but I couldn't leave without tasting one of their house made pies. My friend Alaina kindly split a chocolate peanut butter pie with me - I liked the creamy peanut butter filling and the rich chocolate mousse topping, but found that the crust had a slightly burnt taste to it.
|Chocolate & Peanut Butter Mousse Pie - chocolate biscuit crust, caramel & toasted peanuts - $12|
When we went for Ashley's birthday, we were in a group of ten, so we had to go for the Southern Pride Menu: a set menu of shared dishes showcasing Le Bon Ton's house specialities. This one is charged at $59 a head, which was quite a bit more expensive than our first visit, but you do get a lot of food! (You'll also notice that this time I brought my proper camera, not just my iPhone, which explains the vast improvement in picture quality!)
|Chilli Cheese Fries - Traditional Texas style beef & bean chilli with sharp cheddar sauce on crispy fries|
|Fried Chicken - Southern style buttermilk soaked tenders with cracked pepper white gravy|
|Black Bean Hummus - Pico de gallo, ancho crema & BBQ spiced tortilla chips|
The black bean hummus was quite nice, and I liked the refreshing pico de gallo, but we found the spice on the tortilla chips were a little too sweet.
|The Smoker’s Lot - Showcase of Le Bon Ton's pit-smoked meats and house-made pickles|
Brisket, Jalapeno and cheddar hot-link sausage, Chicken basted in apple BBQ sauce, Otway Ranges pulled pork shoulder
Woo-hoo! Giant platter of meat! We had three or four of these platters shared between our group, and I loved being able to try all the different things! The hot-link sausage was like a cheese kransky with the added goodness of spicy jalapenos. Obviously, I loved it. The chicken was coated a sticky-sweet barbecue - delish. The pulled pork was everything you want it to be, tender and smoky.
The meats came with three sides: an iceberg salad, a potato salad, and a coleslaw. None of these would have been my first choice, but they were refreshing against the smoky, heavy meats.
|Iceberg Salad - with dill, radish, cucumber & lemon dressing|
|Potato Salad - with spring onion, fresh dill, pickles and mayo|
|Tangy Coleslaw - with cabbage, carrot & onion|
|Chocolate brownie with chocolate ganache and coconut|
The dessert was a bit of a let down compared to the savouries. The chocolate brownie with chocolate ganache was nice enough, but wasn't particularly memorable, especially when compared to the delicious meats that preceded it.
If given a choice, my preference would be to order from the a la carte menu, so that you can order exactly what you feel like. (Nothing on the Southern Pride Menu was bad, but the hummus and sides they provided wouldn't have been my first preference, and I would have much rather had the mac and cheese or onion rings, for example).
However, on the plus side, service of the Southern Pride Menu was impressively efficient, and you don't have to think about what to order. (Always a bit tricky in a large group!) Even though we had a couple of late arrivals to our table (sorry guys!), all our food came out within the two-hour window we had on our table. The dinner was paced really well, and we were kept informed of how much time we had left, without ever feeling rushed. They also accepted split bills and let us pay with cards individually. Winner! So even though you sacrifice some flexibility with this option, I think it's a great choice for a large group.
|Le Bon Ton|
Phew! So that was a long post! The summary: I think Le Bon Ton does excellent cocktails, offers good food that's just a little pricey, and is great for groups. Yay!